Tanya Koob Explores The Canadian Rockies

by Andy Amick on January 30, 2013

in Camping, Interview, Kids

In early 2012, I came across Tanya’s blog Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies as I was looking at stories of other parents taking their kids on outdoor trips.  My kids and I get out on a regular basis, but nothing like Tanya and her family.  Almost every weekend, they are out hiking, camping, SUPing, snowshoeing, skiing, or some other outdoor activity.

Tanya Koob - Family Adventures In The Canadian Rockies

In addition to showing us how to get outside with our kids year round, Tanya’s posts come with some beautiful photos. Living in Colorado provides me with some awesome sights, but her pictures of the Canadian Rockies take it up several notches.

Quick bio: Tanya loves hiking, camping, skiing and all things mountain-related. She lives in Calgary, Canada at the doorstep of the Canadian Rockies.  Tanya is the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/ and an aspiring freelance travel writer.

So you’re Canadian, eh?  Does it get annoying when every non-Canadian uses that “joke”?

:)

Nothing like a goofy question to start an email interview.  On to the outdoor questions.  Your family spends a lot of time outdoors all year.  As a kid growing up, did you do the same?  What was your favorite activity as a kid?

To tell you the truth, I didn’t spend much time outdoors as a kid.  I was a total book worm and was once asked if I liked books in the middle of a volleyball game to prove that point!  I wasn’t athletic at all and didn’t really enjoy a single sport other than riding my bicycle around the neighborhood to the local playgrounds if you can call that a sport.  I did however enjoy cross country skiing the few times we went out each winter.  It was after university that I found my love for the outdoors and for hiking while living in South Korea teaching English.  I bought a pair of hiking boots to take with me because I had heard there were a lot of mountains all over the country and that hiking was a popular activity there.  After bagging my first few summits I was hooked.

It seems like there is always something more to do at work or around the house. How do you prioritize your time so that you can get outdoors so many times during the year?

Saturdays are sacred for us.  We set them apart as family days and don’t generally do any work, chores, shopping, or other tasks.  We believe that families need to play together and so we make it a huge priority to get outside on the weekend.  Sundays tend to be more routine with preparing for the upcoming week but you’ll rarely find us around town on a Saturday.  We also travel a lot on weekends because it makes us happy.  We don’t save up our money and take a big vacation each year.  We just spend a little each month and have a fabulous year of adventures rather than one big trip to look forward to.

Setting up a habit of sacred Saturdays is a great way to make sure you’re getting outdoors and not letting day to day chores get in the way.  Does your son count down to Saturday and get excited about the next little adventure?

My son is only four so he doesn’t really look forward to Saturday yet or understand the significance of weekends.  However, we hope as he grows older, we won’t have battles over wanting to stay home with friends vs. going to the mountains with mom and dad because he will be used to spending the day as a family – that will just be the way it is for him, and will be his reference point for what families do on weekends.

Cycling is not your primary activity, but since this blog is focused on cycling, I have to ask what is your favorite trail or area for riding?

I actually took up biking last summer for the first time since I was a child.  I asked for a bike for my birthday because I wanted to keep up with family bike rides.  My husband would tow my son behind him on his bike in the Chariot and I’d be left at home.  I also wanted to be a source of inspiration for my son as we got him a Strider balance bike in spring.  If you want your children to enjoy something, it helps if they see you enjoying it too.  Now we all go out riding as a family and we love it.  I can’t believe I went so many years without owning a bike!  And so far, my favorite trails are the pathways in my city.  I like getting out in the evenings after work.

What one item is your personal must bring?

My camera comes everywhere with me.  And snacks.  I have a preschooler.  We don’t get far without snacks.

When camping with kids, what is the one item that is a “must bring”?

The hammock!!  It’s the camp babysitter and entertainment device.  I’d leave books, video games, movies and the DVD player at home but the hammock has to come!!

You’re going bikepacking with your son this summer, right?

I don’t know about that one Andy.  We’d like to but we fell in love with paddling last summer and bought a canoe.  I also bought a Stand up paddleboard which has become my new “not so secret” love affair.  I think our backcountry trips next summer will all be done on water.  We’re planning trips where my husband and son can canoe while I SUP.  But we will definitely be bringing our bikes along on all of our camping trips and we’re trying to find a backcountry trip we can do with my son’s Strider bike (so friends in the Rockies – let me know if there are any good backcountry campgrounds accessible by a four year old on a balance bike).

Tanya and her family somewhere outside of Calgary.

A bikepacking question had to sneak in there somehow.  Thanks to Tanya for taking time to discuss how she and her family are able to prioritize getting outdoors year round.  You can follow more of her outdoor experiences on her blog and also on Twitter (@MountainMomYYC).

The approach of taking small adventures each week instead of a couple of large trips per year makes a lot of sense.  It’s easier to plan small trips, and if things don’t go as planned, the next weekend is just around the corner.  Also, the tip about bringing a hammock is great tip for making the outdoors more enjoyable for the entire family.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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